tv [untitled] October 13, 2010 5:30am-6:00am PST
the playground where i played is going to be decreased by 12,000 square feet. i will be submitting -- drawing -- showing you how that's being done. the closure of mason street does add more park land and playground to the area, but that should not be counted in any true addition to the playground because it can be closed in any design scheme. the softball fields will be eliminated in the master plan. and that's because the fence will be moved 41 feet eastward. that's also shown in the plan. the public process since 2008 really hasn't shown property lines and where original lines are so when you look at a green site plan it does look very appealing. when i first saw that site plan in 2008, my initial reaction
was positive. but the more you look at it, the more you will see that it contradicts many parts of the san francisco general plan. president miguel: thank you. >> thank you. >> will you use that one? >> actually i want to look at the time. thanks. i'm sue. i am disappointed in the e.i.r. and i will tell you why. but first i want to tell you what the present library commission said about a 50-year mistake in locating the library where it is. i read the minutes of the library commission and at the time the city librarian said that the triangle was too small for a library unless mason street was closed and the assistant city engineer at the time said if mason street were closed it would be a traffic
knight nightmare. i just wanted to -- nightmare. i just wanted to make ma point. another thing i wanted to correct before i get to the specifics of the effort i. -- e.i.r., the evaluations by the planning department said that the north beach library is the most historic of all the eight appleton and willford libraries. i also wanted to state that the community is really split down the middle on this, the telegraph hill dwellers oppose the plan, north beach neighbors oppose the plan. many community members oppose it, as you can see, many community members are for it as well. what i'm upset about the e.i.r. is it ignores so many of the impacts. it talks about an insignificant impact from street closure. that's not true at all. a traffic study done in december of 2005 showed an enormous traffic impact. for some reason this didn't
make it into the e.i.r. and it should make it into a revised e.i.r. also, the e.i.r. doesn't state that the urban design development says that buildings should be visually -- that buildings should be visually interesting and harmoanous with the neighborhood. the proposed building is not either one of those. the e.i.r. fails to see the baseball fields. they're going to be elimb natted. it fails to discuss the restrictions on open space that come about as a result of the plan. and one of the most important things is that it doesn't even consider preservation alternatives properly. and finally the triangle was taken by eminent domain to be open space. it was bought with nearly $3 million of open space money which cannot be used for a nonreng reactional purpose -- a
nonrecreational purpose. to put a library as a nonrecreational purpose in the general plan, it's going to cause all kinds of problems. i do hope that the e.i.r. is revised to address some of the issues that have been raised tonight. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good evening, planning commission. my name is abbie. i'm a 23-year resident of north beach. and a teacher at a pre-k through eighth grade school in north beach. the opportunity for a new library has really been a reallyying cause at our school -- rallying cause as our schoolso, please picture next to me at least 200 parents and 200 children in their pajamas, standing next to me. i've been involved in this project since my son was 6 years old. he's now 13. i have felt very involved and
very informed about this project. i've been to meetings, presentations, brainstorms at the library, at the clubhouse, on the playground and even at my school. i've watched the street closing, i've studied the plans and i also can honestly say i read the e.i.r. online. so i feel that this e.i.r. well documents our neighborhood's urgent needer to more park sfathe space and a new library. the e.i.r. also documents that this elegant and efficient solution was developed with enthusiastic seven-year-long community involvement. please support the e.i.r. and make our involvement worth while and meaningful -- wort while and meaningful. thank you. president miguel: thank you is there additional public comment on this item? >> good evening, commissioners. i'm a planner with the planning
division of the recreation and parks department. and i just want to add my comments to the comments you heard earlier from the department. one of the things and i'm pleased about the e.i.r. is it studies the potential historic impacts, open space and recreational resources, traffic impacts, views and aesthetics. the site is a very complicated project but i'm very pleased that the e.i.r. which took a long time to put together, the planning department did a very good and thorough job, in my opinion. again, you know, the north beach chinatown neighborhood lacks open space. that's one of the really important things about this plan. and i just wanted to mention one of the things that people are referring to. there was a two-month, six weeks or two months, i don't know which, closure of mason street. but it was a really interesting project. a lot of community came and worked to build that together. and that was, i think, one of
the best ways to really study the impacts and i think it allows us to really do that in a thorough way and the environmental impact report. i also did just want to quickly just show you a couple of images because they mean a lot to me. here, as you can see, is the current layout of the park. and one of the things that we have challenges with as a department, which this e.i.r. addresses and discusses, is that the park is currently on two different levels. right now the tennis courts are at this level with the pool and clubhouse, the playground is on a separate level and then the hard area is separate and everything is divided by sensors and you can't pass through the site. the new plan -- the master plan that is evaluated in the e.i.r. before you -- oh, sorry. sorry. ok. it allows, you know, some of the things that actually people have talked about here today. safety and visibility. by putting all facilities on
one level, someone is able to actually have children play in the playground, the tennis court, the ball field, softball field, the basketball courts, we add a couple of additional basketball courts and the library and everything is visible and it's much more open. i think it's something that a lot of the people here have also contributed a lot to during this master planning. the importance of the safety and visibility questions. so i encourage you to support the e.i.r., to find it complete and accurate. i believe it is extensively studied. many, many of the aspects of this project. and i appreciate your time this evening and i appreciate commission president, that you allowed the parent to speak in the beginning. it's a challenge for families to be here this late. i appreciate that. thank you. president miguel: thank you. is there additional public comment on this item? if not, public comment is closed. >> thank you.
if you'll forgive the brief die gregs, i'm pleased to report that the giants beat atlanta 1-0. and directly following that. commissioner antonini: keeping it on a baseball theme, you know, i think a lot of what the e.i.r. did looks good. the one thing that does concern me is having enough room for baseball and everyone has mentioned that joe and vince and dom grew up there and a lot of other great baseball players playing on that very playground. we want to make sure, however, this is recon figured. if it is recon figured, the ability to play baseball, which a lot of guys do, is still able to be done. another little digression is i grew up in the 1950's and it's just a personal opinion, but great music, lousy architecture. that's the way i feel about it.
the one thing you want to do no matter how do you this is you want to make sure that you do have a replacement structure that you don't replace the structure with bad arcture in the 21st century. i'm not saying that that's it, that's something we can work with a through. right now we're looking at the e.i.r., not necessarily the design of the new building we can be worked on if that is what is design -- decided. a couple of other things that were brought up. there was a question about, you know, i remember being here when we approved the condominiums on the triangle and then it was overturned and then it was seized by eminent domain and i'm glad it was seized and there was some funding approved. i guess what we're going to have to figure out is is it appropriate that the park land that is being provided is not necessarily on the triangle but if the library is on the triangle and you end up netting out that park land in between the street and where the
library was, i would say that probably works for me, if it makes for a better playground and everything flows. but that's something we'd have to get an opinion on, probably from maybe the city attorney or whatever, get some kind of a decision as to whether that's appropriate. but i think from what i've seen so far and there's a long ways to go on this and there will be comments and responses, but i'm really excited that this is moving forward and we're going to end up with either some sort of new or rebuilt library that's going to be a lot better than what we had and i'm kind of leaning toward the idea, as was expressed in the 1950's, in the letter i looked at, we might be better off with the library in the corner than in the middle of the park and leave more space for park activities. but that's something that will be -- we'll be looking at in the next months to come. president miguel: i was also interested in hearing about the
1956 letter. i found that very interesting and somewhat telling. the concept from the recreation and open space element of the city's general plan, i'm actually quite familiar with. because i served on and for several years chaired the recreation and open space advisory committee. and indeed north beach was then , 10, 12 years ago, when i served there, as it is now, designated officially in the city as a high-needs area. so the concept of additional recreation and parks space is very telling and very apt in this area, without question. the larger library i don't think anyone questions, let alone a new configuration.
i was involved in two library renovation projects, the richmond branch and another branch and the hill branch, which is finished and gorgeous. i am not a historic preservationist expert by any means. i have taken a look at it purposely because of this, of the various branches. in my nonprofessional opinion, this is perhaps the least of their efforts that is still remaining. not everything the best of international architects does is necessarily worth saving for posterity. i think the alternatives have been well studied.
in spite of what we do by estimation on traffic studies, of running the figures and everything else, i think the several-month closure of mason street and i viewed it a couple of times in particular, because i wanted to see what would happen at various times of the day, seemed to have no impact, in my opinion, on that area. and i think that was pretty much the conclusion that was reached. it's far better the type of traffic study that i would like to look at than running a bunch of assumed figures. i do feel that the e.i.r. is adequate. i feel it is complete. and that's the end of my comments. commissioner moore. commissioner moore: talking about the e.i.r., i found the e.i.r. interesting and quite so
there's one area where i feel it lacks a level of disclosure. i would ask that we be provided a more two-dimensional depiction of the spatial variations on all the schemes. there's obviously, which is harder to depict, the level differences on the playground, which currently operates in a very architectural way. if that is being changed i'd like to see that as a new plan of operation and how it deals with the surrounding grades of the streets. are you operating on a partially tilted plain? what does it really mean, even in the alternative, to look at the massing of the building as it moves over the different -- through the different schemes? i find the e.i.r. -- it speaks about three-dimensionality but
it doesn't show what it really means ree-dimensionality but it doesn't show what it really means and i believe it's necessary for disclosure when people look at this, to understand we need it more visually. i will probably have some other comments but i will submit them by the time specified here in the draft e.i.r. president miguel: commissioner borden. commissioner borden: i also too wanted to say that i thought the e.i.r. was adequate and accurate and i actually wanted to add that the findings about the closure on mason street seem to be consistent with what we found in closing other streets. it just shows that -- i mean, that is the direction we're moving into. the data from here is very consistent to data that we found in other instances where we've closed streets. so it further value dates the accuracy of this information for me -- validates the accuracy of this information for me. president miguel: i think this hear something closed. i believe the comments are due to the department until the
close of business on the 12th of this month. if you have anything further in writing, you would like to submit right now, you may do so to the secretary. if not, you may submit them until the close of business on the 12th to the department. with that, this hear something closed. >> thank you. commissioners, you still have general public comment. president miguel: correct. >> the hearing on the e.i.r. is closed. is there any general public on items that are not on the agenda? none appearing. president miguel: none appearing, this hear something appearing, this hear something closed -- hearing is closed.
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>> there has been an acknowledgement of the special places around san francisco bay. well, there is something sort of innate in human beings, i think, that tend to recognize a good spot when you see it, a spot that takes your breath away. this is one of them. >> an icon of the new deal. >> we stood here a week ago and we heard all of these dignitaries talk about the symbol that coit tower is for san francisco. it's interesting for those of us in the pioneer park project is trying to make the point that not only the tower, not only this man-built edifice here is a symbol of the city but also the green space on which it sits and the hill to
which is rests. to understand them, you have to understand the topography of san francisco. early days of the city, the city grows up in what is the financial district on the edge of chinatown. everything they rely on for existence is the golden gate. it's of massive importance to the people what comes in and out of san francisco bay. they can't see it where they are. they get the idea to build a giant wooden structure. the years that it was up here, it gave the name telegraph hill. it survived although the structure is long gone. come to the 1870's and the city has growed up remarkably. it's fueled with money from the nevada silver mines and the gold rush. it's trying to be the paris of the west. now the beach is the suburbs, the we will their people lived on the bottom and the poorest people lived on the top because it was very hard getting to the
top of telegraph hill. it was mostly lean-to sharks and bits of pieces of houses up here in the beginning. and a group of 20 businessmen decided that it would be better if the top of the hill remained for the public. so they put their money down and they bought four lots at the top of the hill and they gave them to the city. lily hitchcock coit died without leaving a specific use for her bequest. she left a third of her estate for the beautify indication of the city. arthur brown, noted architect in the city, wanted for a while to build a tower. he had become very interested in persian towers. it was the 1930's. it was all about machinery and sort of this amazing architecture, very powerful architecture. he convinced the rec park commission that building a tower in her memory would be the thing to do with her money. >> it was going to be a
wonderful observation place because it was one of the highest hills in the city anywhere and that that was the whole reason why it was built that high and had the elevator access immediately from the beginning as part of its features. >> my fear's studio was just down the street steps. we were in a very small apartment and that was our backyard. when they were preparing the site for the coit tower, there was always a lot of harping and griping about how awful progress was and why they would choose this beautiful pristine area to do them in was a big question. as soon as the coit tower was getting finished and someone put in the idea that it should be used for art, then, all of a sudden, he was excited about
the coit tower. it became almost like a daily destination for him to enjoy the atmosphere no matter what the politics, that wasn't the point. as long as they fit in and did their work and did their own creative expression, that was all that was required. they turned in their drawings. the drawings were accepted. if they snuck something in, well, there weren't going to be any stoolies around. they made such careful little diagrams of every possible little thing about it as though that was just so important and that they were just the big frog. and, actually, no one ever felt that way about them and they weren't considered something like that. in later life when people would
approach me and say, well, what did you know about it? we were with him almost every day and his children, we grew up together and we didn't think of him as a commie and also the same with the other. he was just a family man doing normal things. no one thought anything of what he was doing. some of them were much more highly trained. it shows, in my estimation, in the murals. this was one of the masterpieces. families at home was a lot more close to the life that i can remember that we lived. murals on the upper floors like the children playing on the swings and i think the little deer in the forest where you
could come and see them in the woods and the sports that were always available, i think it did express the best part of our lives. things that weren't costing money to do, you would go to a picnic on the beach or you would do something in the woods. my favorite of all is in the staircase. it's almost a miracle masterpiece how he could manage to not only fit everyone, of course, a lot of them i recognized from my childhood -- it's how he juxtaposed and managed to kind of climb up that stairway on either side very much like you are walking down a street. it was incredible to do that and to me, that is what depicted the life of the times in san francisco. i even like the ones that show the industrial areas, the once
with the workers showing them in the cannery and i can remember going in there and seeing these women with the caps, with the nets shuffling these cans through. my parents had a ranch in santa rosa and we went there all summer. i could see these people leaning over and checking. it looked exactly like the beautiful things about the ranch. i think he was pretty much in the never look back philosophy about the coit. i don't think he ever went to visit again after we moved from telegraph hill, which was only five or six years later. i don't think he ever had to see it when the initials are scratched into everything and people had literally destroyed the lower half of everything. >> well, in my view, the tower had been pretty much neglected
from the 1930's up until the 1980's. it wasn't until then that really enough people began to be alarmed about the condition of the murals, the tower was leaking. some of the murals suffered wear damage. we really began to organize getting funding through the arts commission and various other sources to restore the murals. they don't have that connection or thread or maintain that connection to your history and your past, what do you have? that's one of the major elements of what makes quality of life in san francisco so incredible. when people ask me, and they ask me all the time, how do you get to coit tower, i say you walk. that's the best way to experience the gradual elevation coming up above the hustle and bustle of the city
and finding this sort of oasis, if you will, at the top of the hill. when i walk through this park, i look at these brick walls and this lawn, i look at the railings around the murals. i look at the restoration and i think, yeah, i had something to do with that. learning the lessons, thank you, landmarks meet landmarks. the current situation at pioneer park and coit tower is really based in public and private partnership. it was the citizens who came together to buy the land to keep it from being developed. it was lily hitchcock coit to give money to the city to beautify the city she loved of the park project worked to develop this south side and still that's the basis of our future project to address the north side.